Armchair Puzzle

Another woman paraded naked,
another assaulted by a mob,
so horrific so regular so routine,
the smell of coffee six across-

the promise of a good life-a utopia
though none may salve the wound
the way she reacts and cry
does it fit violence? – four across-

they peel her tongue in an effortless ease
then strip one of her sisters
they want more and more of it
siphoning the light- eight down-

no one knows who is to blame
sarcasm in different lips disperses around
a chill descends, motionless, paused
judgment time- nine down-

they come with terror and destruction
bodies slither into pieces
the arc of growing up- eight across
a blank is left- armchair is the best fit-

Gopal Lahiri is a bilingual poet, critic, editor, writer and translator with 29 books published, including eight solo/jointly edited books. His poetry and prose are published across more than seventy journals and anthologies globally. His poems are translated in 16 languages. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize for poetry in 2021. He has received Setu Excellence Award, Pittsburgh, US, in poetry. He is the first recipient of. Jayanta Mahapatra National Award for Literature, 2024. Read other articles by Gopal.